Jeff Green | Mar 01, 2007
Feature Article - March 1, 2007
Back toHomeFeature Article - March 1, 2007
NFCouncil distances itself from one of its own
by Jeff Green
North Frontenac Council did some internal soul-searching over developments at Pine Lake at their meeting in Snow Road last Thursday, February 22.
At council’s previous meeting, on February 8th, Councillor Wayne Cole had proposed that the township seek a meeting with federal and provincial officials “to resolve this challenge”.
The “challenge” referred to in Cole’s motion is the construction project being undertaken on Crown Land at the Pine Lake boat launch by the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFNA), a non-status Algonquin band.
Two things happened at the February 22nd meeting. First, township staff sought council’s support to expand the meeting with government officials to include AAFNA, township officials, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Council supported this.
However, a date for the meeting has not been set, and two major players have already indicated they are not going to attend.
The township’s Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Robson informed council that she had received an email message from Robert Walroth of the Bancroft Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) office “respectfully declining” the invitation. Walroth also wrote that AAFNA has hired a consultant to do an environmental assessment for the project. The consultant is working co-operatively with the MNR, and the process could be leading the MNR to issue a land use permit to AAFNA.
At first, AAFNA had indicated they would be willing to attend such a meeting under certain conditions, a position that was communicated to the township in a message from AAFNA on February 16th. But, in a further communication dated February 18th, AAFNA stated they would not be attending any further meetings with the township or the MNR.
Later in the February 22nd council meeting, Mayor Maguire provided some clues as to what has led AAFNA to their current stance.
He informed council that as the result of statements made by Councillor Cole that were reported in the Frontenac News on February 15, (“Rift develops over NF council’s role at Pine Lake”, Vol. 7, issue 6) AAFNA will not meet with the township or the MNR until an apology for Councillor Cole’s comments is printed in the paper.
When asked what comments he was referring to, Maguire said “I won’t repeat them.”
In the article in question, Councillor Cole was quoted as saying “These people are squatters. They are breaking the law.”
After a little more discussion, Mayor Maguire said to Councillor Cole, “You know what’s happened.”
Wayne Cole said he did not, and then Mayor Maguire said to council, “the OPP is investigating Councillor Cole’s comments as reported in the paper as a possible breach of hate crimes legislation. Council has been painted with the same brush” Mayor Maguire added, and then he asked Councillor Cole to apologise for his statements.
Councillor Cole declined to do so.
Mayor Maguire asked if anyone on council would make a motion to the effect that Councillor Cole’s comments do not reflect the position of council.
Councillor Fred Perry made the following motion: “That the comments and remarks made by Councillor Cole at the February 8th council meeting do not reflect the position of council; and that council invite all parties back to the table to resolve the challenge.”
In speaking to the motion, Wayne Cole would only say, “No comment, this is under the guidance of my lawyers now.”
The motion passed, with Councillors Lonnie Watkins and Wayne Cole entering the only dissenting votes.
OTHER NOTES FROM COUNCIL: Challenge received Central Frontenac Township Administration has put a team together for the “Relay for Life”, a cancer fundraising event that is taking place in Parham on June 1st. They have issued a challenge to the North Frontenac Township Administration to put a team together a well.
Advisory Committee rep found After a long search Debbie Kiss has come forward to represent North Frontenac to the Frontenac County Accessibility Advisory Committee.
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